Trump tweet twitt Jayda Fransen Virgin Mary statue
© Twitter
This one comes from the increasingly common 'You couln't make this up if you tried!' category of high level politics news.

On the 28th of November, Donald Trump retweeted three 'anti-Muslim' videos from Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of Britain First, a 'patriotic political party and street movement' - as it defines itself on its Facebook page - formed in 2011 by former members of the British National Party.

One of the videos shows a boy - allegedly a Muslim immigrant - beating up another boy in crutches - supposedly a Dutch national. The Dutch media is said to have verified that the attacker was neither Muslim nor an immigrant.

The second video shows a Muslim man smashing a statue of the Virgin Mary.

In the third video we see a group of people on a rooftop of what appears to be a Middle Eastern country, where two young men are brutally thrown from a higher level and beaten up. Fransen describes the group as an 'Islamist mob'. This may be true while also misleading, as one of the men appears to be carrying an ISIS flag - thus these are not your average 'Muslims'.

The UK Prime Minister's spokesman, John Bercow, condemned the original tweets and Trump retweeting them, saying that Britain First sought to divide communities through its use of "hateful narratives which peddle lies and stoke tensions... It is wrong for the president to have done this".

Both Britain First and the British National Party are considered extreme right-wing organizations and are generally associated with scandal and violence. In June 2016, Labour MP Jo Cox was stabbed and shot outside her constituency office in Birstall, West Yorkshire, by a man who shouted 'Britain First'. Jayda Fransen herself made the headlines a year ago when she was fined nearly £2,000 for shouting at a Muslim woman wearing a hijab and telling her that Muslim men force women to cover up to avoid being raped "because they cannot control their sexual urges", adding "that's why they are coming into my country, raping women across the continent".

Fransen has also been arrested and charged with employing "threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour" at a rally in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in August this year. She is due to appear at Belfast Magistrates' Court on 14 December. The Belfast rally was organized by Belfast City Councillor Jolene Bunting, who was a member of one of Northern Ireland's Unionist political parties until she was forced out of the party earlier this year as a result of posts she made on FB in 2014 where she said she was "so sick of the poor Catholic bastards" and wished they would "go down to Ireland and change their signs down there".

Jolene Bunting FB posts
After Trump retweeted Fransen's anti-Islam tweet, Bunting stated, "Donald Trump loves the truth, he tells the truth. When he saw Jayda [Fransen] tell the truth he obviously thought I like this girl, and who wouldn't?" Check out Bunting holding forth on Brexit in this speech to Belfast City Council.

UK race and religion issues aside, what is really interesting about Trump's retweets is that the man who destroys the statue of Virgin Mary in the second video is none other than Omar Gharba, a Free Syrian Army commander.


ZeroHedge's Tyler Durden writes:
That particular video shared by the president is from 2013 and shows a Free Syrian Army (FSA) commander named Omar Gharba destroying a Virgin Mary statue as the group invaded a Syrian Christian town. In a geopolitical and deeply ironic twist demonstrating the absurdity and contradictions of US foreign policy, the radical Islamist commander was actually supported by the United States at the time as part of the FSA, which the media and US government deemed "moderate".

So a sitting US president shared a video which reveals a Syrian "rebel" fighter committing war crimes who was part of one of the very groups backed by the CIA as official US policy under the Obama administration. Of course it is likely that Trump himself is not fully aware of this, yet the astounding geopolitical irony in this should not be missed, even as public outrage is reduced to merely discussing "anti-Muslim bigotry" and whether or not Trump is being "presidential".
The CIA support of the Free Syrian Army carried on until at least January 2017, but according to South Front, the US still delivered aid to the radical group as late as July 2017, when they finally decided to suspend support.

But the FSA has had other sponsors. A leaked NSA memo included in the files provided by Edward Snowden detailed Saudi Arabia's 'Red Prince' Mohammed Bin Salman's request in March 2013 to the FSA to "light up Damascus" and "flatten" its international airport. The document further revealed that the "Saudis sent 120 tons of explosives/weapons to opposition forces"; that the Saudis were "very pleased" with the outcome; and that the US was notified of the operation three days in advance.

The hand of Israel is also to be found behind the FSA puppets. A group of FSA fighters defected and switched sides in the conflict and created the Golan Brigade after discovering that their unit had been coordinating with Israel - a relationship which included logistical, military and medical aid.

Although the FSA is often portrayed as the 'moderate rebels' in the conflict, its modus operandi shows there is nothing that distinguishes it from Al Nusra (i.e. Al Qaeda in Syria) or the headchoppers of ISIS. A 21-year-old Syrian woman who was forced to live with FSA 'rebels', and who was tortured and burned by her captors, told her harrowing story to Syria News:
"They imposed al sharia on us. They were starving us, and if one stole a loaf of bread to eat, his hand was cut off. For women, we were not allowed to marry from our own men, from our own people, our own choices. We were told we had to marry them.

They said it is not allowed to let women to marry those who are pro-government, because they let women put on make up and work, and let women outside without covering faces. And this is taboo! Such women should be beheaded. And what kind of marriage to such terrorists would this be? It is just to please the man for one hour.

They will leave and send you to 'sex jihad'! This happened to my friends. And they took our kids to join them, too. It has been two years I have not seen my son. They stole him. alNusra Front did that. Women who refused to obey them were tortured...beheaded and put into cars carrying their severed heads, driving around the city as lessons to other women.

They starved us and stole our homes and stole everything in our homes.

They killed my husband. They took his body to Turkey and later sent his dead body back to me, without his organs. I saw how they stitched up his body.

Everything is taboo and forbidden. I was burnt by a gas tank, but no doctor would treat me. Science is taboo. I ran into a doctor I know and asked for help, but he refused to treat me, saying under the new rules it is taboo to see a woman's body.

After my mother and I were released from prison, I asked to be taken to a hospital in Turkey, but they refused.

I am 21 years old. Look at my hands. I was refused medical treatment. I lost my looks. Who would marry me now?"
For further details on the nature of the 'rebel' (terrorist) groups - including the FSA but also other factions like Al Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham and Daesh - and the martyrdom that Syrian civilians had to endure while living under their rule, read Eva Bartlett's two-part report here and here. The testimony she took from a small hardware shop owner in the eastern district Bab al-Hadid of Aleppo sums it best:
"They are criminals! They call themselves 'rebels', but actually they are all terrorists, with no exceptions. They're all the same but with different names. ISIS is like Nusra, Nusra are like the FSA, the FSA are like ISIS."
Bab al-Hadid shop owner
© Eva Bartlett/MintPress News
The owner of small hardware shop in eastern district Bab al-Hadid, The shop owner, who wished to remain anonymous, said he fled under the rule of Syria's rebels groups, returning only after the government restored the rule of law in the area
As for the actions of commander Omar Gharba himself, the video above was taken in 2013 in the Christian village of Yakubiyah after it was taken over by the FSA. A Christian survivor had this to say to Voice of America:
Last year, Christian refugees described to VOA the execution of a half dozen of their co-religionists in the northwestern village of al-Yakubiye, in Idlib province, by Sunni Muslims aligned with the Western-backed Free Syrian Army.

Rahel, a 45-year-old former teacher, said, "Al Nusra didn't come to our village; the people who came were from villages close by, and they were Free Syrian Army."

Christians were targeted because they were seen as being pro-Assad, although she added some of the persecution was motivated by greed, with the better off being targeted first and their property divided by powerful local Sunni Muslim families.
Trump was quite right to condemn the US-backed murderous FSA when he retweeted the video of commander Gharba's display of bigotry. Too bad he failed to realize who Gharba was and that his own intelligence agencies have been funding, training and arming his ilk for years.

The FSA's actions contrast sharply with those of the tolerant Syrian authorities and the multi-religious people of Syria. In the video below, a new statue of the Virgin Mary is seen being erected in the center of the Christian Syrian town of Maalula, replacing the figure destroyed in rebel attacks in 2013 by US-backed 'moderate rebels'.